Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Love Me, Build Me, Destroy Me: Three Artists Reflect on the Sublime


Love Me, Build Me, Destroy Me: Three artists reflect on the sublime
Sydney Croskery, Jennifer Gunlock, and Molly Segal
Curated by Mario D. Vasquez
PostLA@MiM Gallery
4654 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016-1743
Opening Reception: July 17, 2019; 7pm to 9pm

The idea of the sublime has confounded and enthralled artists, writers, and poets for at least 200 years. The idea that nature overcomes man, or man is in conflict with nature is a theme that is central to the sublime.

Edmund Burke stated, “Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling. I say the strongest emotion, because I am satisfied the ideas of pain are much more powerful than those which enter on the part of pleasure. Without all doubt, the torments which we may be made to suffer are much greater in their effect on the body and mind, than any pleasure which the most learned voluptuary could suggest, or than the liveliest imagination, and the most sound and exquisitely sensible body, could enjoy.” Burke, Edmund. “Of the Sublime”

Immanuel Kant states that “Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt” Immanuel Kant, “Critique of Pure Reason.”

The 19th century American painter Thomas Cole explored the sublime by creating a narrative around the rise and fall of civilization. Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire was comprised of three works; “The Savage State; The Arcadian or Pastoral State,” “The Consummation of Empire; Destruction” and “Desolation.” Taking a cue from “Course of Empire,” “Love Me, Build Me, Destroy Me” reflects on the contemporary sublime by exploring the relationship between nature and humans, which changes from love and beauty, the development of the land by way of building, and to the eventual destruction by folly. The contemporary sublime is concerned with man’s destruction of nature and its continuing consequences. The three artists in this exhibition, Sydney Croskery, Jennifer Gunlock and Molly Segal, explore each of these aspects.

Sydney Croskery explores the idea of the contemporary overwhelm by studying both beauty and banality of objects in natural and industrialized realms. The use of interspersed and grouped paintings creates a subjective landscape where fragments become almost dream-like vision of the land and nature. When looking at Croskery’s works, the loss of nature becomes terrifying and tragic.

Jennifer Gunlock portrays the build environments that populate the landscape. Gunlock’s man-made structures take over the landscape as human’s turn on nature and assert their dominance. Structures replace the natural and as the natural is lost.

Molly Segal foresees that nature is left in ruins, as nature goes from beauty to that of dystopia. Segal’s landscapes are populated by oil pumps, carnival rides and ruins as if man’s folly is reflected. Segal’s depicts the results of neglect and degradation of the environment as nature is destroyed.    

The sublime becomes overwhelming as a man’s affiliation with nature and beauty goes from love to arrogance to the ultimate destruction of nature and thus, leaving nature in ruins. It is the idea of the 19th century in reverse where man is overwhelmed by man rather it being overwhelmed by nature.

Mario Vasquez is a blogger, independent curator and art critic based in Los Angeles.  

Artists Bios
Sydney Croskery
Sydney Croskery is a third generation Los Angeleno, who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work generally is about society, over stimulation, and consumption. She has participated in shows at Charlie James Gallery, the Fellows of Contemporary Art, Raid Projects, LACE, Angles Gallery, and Jack Tilton Gallery. She has also participated in shows at the Getty Museum, The Torrance Art Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Riverside Museum. She is a member of the LA Art Girls and is one-half of the World Famous Wiener Girls of Chicago. Croskery is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Grant for 2018.

Jennifer Gunlock
Based in Long Beach, CA, Gunlock has received a BA in Fine Art at California Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1998 and an MFA at California State University, Long Beach in 2003. She has exhibited nationally and in local venues such as Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Launch LA, and Angels Gate Cultural Center. She has been Artist in Residence at Playa in Summer Lake, Oregon; Shoebox Projects in Los Angeles; Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming; and at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In 2014-15 Gunlock participated in in “Fires of Change,” an NEA-funded collaboration between artists and scientists, to translate the social and ecological issues surrounding wildfire in the Southwest. Following a fire science bootcamp in the Grand Canyon, and a year to complete a project, a group exhibition opened at Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona in September 2015 and traveled to the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson and 516 Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Molly Segal
Segal was born and raised in Oakland, CA.  She received a MFA from The School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. Her paintings have recently appeared in group exhibitions at Northeastern University Gallery 360, Charlie James Gallery, PØST, Zevitas Marcus, and BLAM. She has contributed to publications such as Full Blede, Venison Quarterly, Reflections of The Burden of Men, and Lapham’s Quarterly. She was an artist in residence at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in 2017 and the Vermont Studio Center in 2018. Segal currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

 
Jennifer Gunlock



Jennifer Gunlock

Sydney Croskery

Molly Segal

Molly Segal

Molly Segal

Jennifer Gunlock

Molly Segal

Installation View

(left to right) Sydney Croskery and Molly Segal

Sydney Croskery

Sydney Croskery

Installation View

Sydney Croskery

Sydney Croskery

Molly Segal

Molly Segal


Jennifer Gunlock

Installation View

Sydney Croskery

Jennifer Gunlock

Installation View at Opening Reception



Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Morgan Mandalay "Bad Sin Frutas" (Review) at Klowden Mann, Culver City, California

In the book of Genesis, the Garden of Eden was the epitome of paradise where Adam and Eve lived in peace among the animals. This paradise was lost when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. From this point, Morgan Mandalay uses the fall of man as a starting point for his current solo show at Klowden Mann, "Bad Sin Frutas." The title of the exhibition is a play on words in both English and Spanish. The word “bad” is placed together with the words “sin frutas” which could mean “without fruit” in Spanish or a play on the word “sin” which means to transgress and depart from that which is good or in other words “bad fruit.” The connection between fruit and the garden alludes to the Garden of Eden.

The Garden of Eden becomes an allegory of exile and loss. Mandalay's paintings are frenzied with color and tension. The paintings are rich with both allusion and beauty. The canvases display nature in distress. Mandalay answers the question of what happened to Eden after Adam and Eve left. Did it disappear and die, or does it still exist where no one will even find the paradise lost?

To Mandalay, Eden still exists, but unobtainable. There is a sense of danger in the landscape. Throughout the works, arms and hands indicate something still exists among the wild within. Fires rage within the landscape as nature is enveloped with the consequences of exile. The scene becomes an allegory of exile reflecting Mandalay’s family’s experiences of fleeing Cuba. Christopher Columbus, in his exploration of the island, described Cuba as, “The most beautiful earth than human eyes had ever seen.” In this respects, Mandalay’s landscapes became the land of the lost where what is left is not only distant, but also troubled.

The landscapes of Morgan Mandalay invite the viewer to contemplate the consequences of the exile. The works examine what happens after the expulsion. If those that are exiled return, will the exiled find their paradise lost? Mandalay explores those questions. This is an excellent show and worth a visit. Go see.


Morgan Mandalay (b.1985 Long Beach, CA, USA) received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from the University of California San Diego in 2017. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at BWSMX (Mexico City), City Limits (Oakland), Helmuth Projects (San Diego), and LVL3 (Chicago). As well, in group exhibitions with Bahamas Biennale (Detroit), Flag Foundation (New York City), Et. Al (San Francisco), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, David B. Smith Gallery (Denver), Kimberly Klark (Queens), Deslave (Tijuana), among others. Mandalay is also the founder and director of SPF15, a beach-based curatorial project that was based in San Diego, CA.

Morgan Mandalay
Bad Sin Frutas
March 30 - May 4

Klowden Mann
6023 Washington Blvd., 
Culver City, CA 90232 | 
310-280-0226 
#klowdenmanngallery #morganmandalay #landscape #gardenofedeninart #culvercity #badsinfruitas

Rotten Core
2019
Oil on canvas in artist frame
62.5 by 84.5 by 1.75 inches


And forgive us our trespasses
2019
Oil on canvas in artist frame
72.75 by 48.5 by 1.75 inches

Trapped in Paradise
2018
Oil on canvas in artist frame
54.5 by 42.875 by 1.75 inches


Uriel
2018
Oil on canvas in artist frame
60.5 by 40.5 by 1.75 inches

Double Delight
2019
Oil on canvas in artist frame
48.5 by 32.5 by 1.75 inches


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Felix LA, Hollywood, California

Here's a video of LA's newest art fairs, Felix LA, at the Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, California. Filmed at the opening on February 14, 2019.




Monday, February 25, 2019

(Review) Frieze Los Angeles, Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, California

Frieze Los Angeles 
Paramount Studios
Los Angeles, California
https://frieze.com/fairs/frieze-los-angeles
February 15 to 17, 2019

During the week of February 15th, Los Angeles was a host to a total of 6 art fairs throughout the city. The crown jewel was Frieze, an international art fair which has iterations in London, and New York. With a total of 70 galleries, and site-specific installations in the backlot of Paramount Studios, this was the first year that Frieze was in Los Angeles. Despite the rain and cold weather, people flocked to see Frieze Los Angeles. Each of the booths at Frieze gave the viewer something to love. From Anri Sala's self-playing drums to Cindy Sherman's iconic photography, Frieze offered something for everyone. The best galleries were the ones that offered solo presentations. The Hauser and Wirth's presentation of Mike Kelly's "Unisex Love Nest" installation was both brilliant and disturbing; Mike Kelley at his best. Spruth Mager's booth had an intimate presentation of small paintings by Karen Kilimnik. The red walls extenuated the color and subject matter of each of the works. The paintings portrayed castles, princesses and horses; the subject matter of fantasy. One of the best discoveries at Frieze were the paintings of Hugh Steers at the Alexander Gray Associates booth. Hugh Steers was a New York painter who tragically died of HIV/AIDS in 1995. The figurative works explore the taboo subject matter of queer identity and homo-eroticism. The composition has the intimacy of a Paul Cadmus or Edward Hopper or even his contemporary Eric Fischl, but without the jadedness. Despite their intimacy, Steers' art was bold for his time. These were definitely one of the highlights at Frieze.

LA Louver's booth was probably the best exclusively Los Angeles based gallery to show at Frieze. LA Louvre showed Guijin Fujita, whose extraordinary works combine both traditional Japanese painting with LA graffiti art. Almine Rech had a wonderful presentation of the abstract expressionist/color field painter Vivian Springford who was one of the featured artists in "The Women of Abstract Expressionism" exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2017. Matthew Marks gallery had an amazing showing of Ken Price's ceramics and works on paper. Price's work was surprising, and humorous in their color and subject matter. Another great booth was David Kordansky, which featured the work of Kathryn Andrews. Other notable galleries with a great selection of works include Metro Pictures, OMR, Massimo De Carlo, White Cube, Blum and Poe, and kurimanzutto.

Outside of the galleries, the backlot presented some truly amazing and provocative installations and outdoor sculpture. Sarah Cain's installation "I touched a cactus flower" was a delightful celebration of color and light within brownstone backlot. Catherine Czudej "Waiting for Jimmy Hoffa" was a sad allegory of the sad fate of labor unions and the labor movement. Paul McCarthy's "Daddies Tomato Ketchup Inflatable" and the video inside the prop building "Bossie Berger" offers a decadent view of food and consumerist culture. The outdoor installations of Hannah Greely "High and Dry" and Trulee Hall's "Infestation" effectively uses the studio backlot and the prop set to create sites of fantasy that correspond to the specific Paramount Pictures lot. The most effective and the best of the outdoor installations is Karon Davis' "Game," which was curated by Ali Subotnick. Three white plaster figures, two standing and one sitting, stand in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy. The figures are African American, and they stand outside struggling to maintain their humanity as they are becoming prey. Davis is making a provocative statement on the state of school violence, where schools have become the hunting grounds for guns and active shooters. Davis's installation is deeply moving and provocative. Definitely one of the best of Frieze. 

By all accounts, Frieze Los Angeles was a success. The Mike Kelley installation "Unisex Love Nest" sold for $1.8 million dollars. Other works sold and the galleries surveyed were satisfied with the fair. 
Upon looking at the works sold and those who purchased the works, it looks like the purchasers were mainly from outside of California or even the United States. I am glad that this year's Frieze in Los Angeles was a success and it will more likely be back in 2020. My only problem is that the purchases did not benefit Los Angeles' institutions and collections. (Maybe I am wrong. I hope that I am). Did the Hammer Museum, LACMA, MOCA or others including the well-known collectors in Southern California purchase works? The Mike Kelley installation was purchased by a foundation in Europe. I wish that it could've remained here in Los Angeles, the hometown of Mike Kelley. I am hoping that Frieze in the future will bring in more local collectors and institutions so that the community will eventually benefit. I am also happy that the backlot exhibited the best emerging and established artists from Los Angeles. The backlot was truly enjoyable. Frieze was a triumph and it looks like the other art fairs also benefited from this fair. It appears that Frieze has a great future in Los Angeles. 









Cayetano Ferrer

Karon Davis' "Game,"

Karon Davis' "Game,"

Karon Davis' "Game,"


Karon Davis' "Game,"

Hannah Greely

Trulee Hall

Eugenia P. Butler & Corazón Del Sol

Eugenia P. Butler & Corazón Del Sol

Paul McCarthy

Catherine Czudej "Waiting for Jimmy Hoffa"


Sarah Cain


Sarah Cain

Sarah Cain

Barbara Kruger


Bernard Frieze


Gajin Fuijita


Gajin Fujita

Raymond Pettibon

Rob Pruit










Anne Craven


Rachel Harrison

Rachel Harrison










Dike Blair




Friedrich Kunath

Friedrich Kunath

Elizabeth Peyton

Doug Aitken


Andrea Zittel

Martin Puryear




Andy Warhol

Robert Rauschenberg

George Condo





Alex Katz


Louise Lawler




Sam Falls



Anri Sala

Paulina Olowska

Cindy Sherman




Alex Olson








Amy Bessone

Amy Bessone

Installation view of Amy Bessone

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly


Mike Kelly


Al Held

Liu Wei

David Altmejd

Sarah Morris

Philip Guston

Pat Steir

Judy Chicago

Vivian Springford

Vivian Springford

Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud








Carrie Mae Weems






Ken Price

Ken Price





Beatriz Cortez

Beatriz Cortez












Claire Tabouret


Charlie Arnoldi at Karma International


Paulo Nimer Pjota

Paulo Nimer Pjota

Paulo Nimer Pjota


Kathryn Andrews at David Kordansky




Henry Taylor at Blum and Poe

Theodora Allen



Jeanette Mundt at Societe, Berlin



Anish Kapoor

High Steers at Alexander Gray Associates

Joan Semmel at Alexander Gray Associates


Enrique Martinez Celaya

Tracey Emin




Installation of Spruth Magers booth

Lisa Yuskavage



Karen Kilimnik at Spruth Magers 

Karen Kilimnik at Spruth Magers 

Karen Kilimnik at Spruth Magers 













Olaf Eliasson

Love Me, Build Me, Destroy Me: Three Artists Reflect on the Sublime

Love Me, Build Me, Destroy Me: Three artists reflect on the sublime Sydney Croskery, Jennifer Gunlock, and Molly Segal Curated by Mari...